Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog has been elected the 11th president of Israel after receiving the majority of votes from Knesset members in a secret ballot.
With 87 votes out of a total of 120, Herzog beat out Israel Prize-winning educator Miriam Peretz who received 26 votes. Three MKs abstained.
Herzog’s nomination marked the largest win in any presidential election in Israel’s history. He is also the first Israeli president with a father who served in the same role. Chaim Herzog was Israel’s sixth president in 1983-1993.
It was also the first presidential election in which none of the candidates are current MKs. Herzog was the head of the Labor party from 2013 – 2017.
Herzog will assume the position after President Reuven Rivlin’s term ends on July 9, thanking the MKs for their confidence.
“I will be the president of everyone,” Herzog said, adding he will work “to build bridges” between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.
He added he would do everything in his power to “fight antisemitism and hatred of Israel” as well as “to safekeep the foundations of our democracy.”
“I accept upon myself the heavy responsibility you have placed upon me. I accept the privilege of serving the entire Israeli public,” he said.
Peretz congratulated her opponent, saying: “A fitting president who honors us was elected. I will pray for his success, because his success is our success.”
Herzog said he hoped “to be able to work with any government and every prime minister” to which Netanyahu interjected, “Well let’s not get into that at the moment.”
Israel is currently on the edge of forming a so-called “change” government ousting Netanyahu from the premiership.